Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One Green Thing: Bags

Using reusable bags, instead of paper or plastic, is the easiest green thing for me to do, the first change I remember making, and the one I do most consistently. I have at least a dozen reusable bags, and I am not exaggerating. I haven't counted, so it is quite possible that I have a lot more than that.

I started my collection with the Organic EcoSystem For One from ECOBAGS and slowly expanded from there. I bought a few at Publix, extra produce bags and a wrap-n-mat from reusablebags, and I get a free tote bag every time I make a big purchase at Running Warehouse. I also have a few tote and drawstring bag I've gotten at races. I use my bags for everything, from any kind of shopping, to carrying my lunch to work, to carrying my clothes/gear to the gym. I even have a pannier tote bag for my bike. I plan to use smaller reusable bags (that I'll either purchase or sew myself) in lieu of wrapping paper or gift bags this year.

With a few exceptions, for which I am currently researching alternatives (e.g. ziplock bags), I use very few plastic bags. Since I have so many tote bags, it's easy to leave a big supply in the car so I don't forget for the next trip to Publix, Target, or the Farmer's Market. On the occasion when I do forget, I'll simply carry the item home without a bag, ask for paper bags (which I use to carry the excess cardboard recycling), or use the plastic bags for trash in our small garbage cans at home. If you still have an excess of plastic bags, here are 99 Reuses for Plastic Bags.

Below is a list of my favorite products and sites to buy them. How about you, what are your favorite products to reduce the amount of plastic you use on a daily basis?

  • produce bags - great alternative to those thin plastic bags at the produce section; I also use them to carry all kinds of other small stuff, such as my workout accessories.
  • wrap-n-mat - clever alternative to snack plastic bags, and it doubles as a placemat. 
  • pannier tote bag - the perfect way to carry stuff when I bike to work, or for a trip to the farmer's market. It's easy to install and it fits a LOT.
  • - this site has a huge selection of bags for shopping, carrying your lunch, packing a sandwich or a snack, and water bottles
  • - an alternate site to
  • Or you can make your own: 13 Ways to Make Cool Reusable Shopping Bags for Free
Further Reading


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning us in your post - this is a great round-up of reusable bag options. We are changing the name of our store from to as we make the push to carry reusables for every part of your life. We have bags, bottles, personal care items, housewares, food containers and much more. You might want to check out our selection of reusable snack and sandwich bags, I personally love Lunchskins.

Kitzzy said...

I saw those while I was researching this article. Your selection has expanded so much and I'm looking into expanding my collection too.

The Green Girl said...

Thanks so much for sharing this information. I struggle with what to do with the wet produce from the farmer's market - I will look into the produce bags. I always use reusable shopping bags but if the produce is unusually wet, I'll opt to take a brown bag to help absorb the moisture and then put the produce in the brown bag in my reusable bag.

I got the coolest reusable bag this weekend at the farmer's market for $4. It actually has compartments which makes it easier for me to carry my bundles of produce.

Kitzzy said...

Glad this is useful. has several other produce bags to choose from, so browse around to see what would work best for you. That bag sounds awesome! I'd look into getting one if I didn't already have way too many :)

The Green Girl said...

Ah, thanks for the tip. I'll have to check out my options.

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